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Pulitzer Center

Waiting for Water: West African Journalists' Investigations Play

A collection of reports on water and sanitation produced by four West African journalists and two international journalists as part of Pulitzer Center's ground-breaking collaborative reporting project.

West Africa has some of the lowest rates of access to safe drinking water in the world. Governments, private contractors, UN agencies and international non-government organizations (NGOs) have spent billions of dollars to address the problem. But success is elusive, and the challenge is only becoming more severe. Populations are growing, people are moving from farms to cities, and city planning is chaotic. The reasons cited for failure are varied and numerous, from inadequate funds and mismanagement to corruption, lack of spare parts, no local buy-in, and weak institutions. At the same time, everyone claims to have the latest and most promising solution to the challenge.

Missing from the flood tide of PR and spin are local, objective voices with international reach that can distinguish high-level rhetoric from baseless posturing and good intentions from good results. The Pulitzer Center is partnering with journalists from four countries in West Africa: Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Liberia. American journalists, Stephen Sapienza and Peter Sawyer, traveled to the region to report alongside them.

Global Goods, Local Costs: Real Prices of Modern Commodities Play

A collection of videos that uncover the true costs of producing the commodities that have become essential to our lifestyles but that mostly we take for granted.

Behind almost every product we buy and the GDP numbers we worry over, there is a story whose trail crosses the globe. Every physical product starts as raw material somewhere, from the gold in our jewelry to the shrimp at our favorite restaurant and the minerals within our mobile phones and laptops.

The rapid industrialization of countries like India, China and Brazil and a voracious consumer culture in Europe, the United States and Japan mean ever greater demand for these raw materials--and ever greater pressures on the individuals, communities and environments that bear the cost of providing them.

These local costs too often remain hidden. They are obscured by companies and governments that put a premium on production and exports. They are little understood by consumers, whose concept of "price" and "value" doesn't include damage done to people and places far away.

The Global Goods, Local Costs Gateway is an effort to make those connections plain, to show the true costs of producing the commodities that have become essential to our lifestyles but that mostly we take for granted. These reports touch on goods and challenges across the globe that share a common theme: the implications of a vision of endless prosperity set against the reality of a finite planet.

Population: Problems with 7 Billion People Play

Population is a collection of reports by Pulitzer Center's journalists on the global issue that lies at the intersection of economics, environment, gender roles, culture, politics, and religion.

The population issue is fraught with moral positions, confusion, and unexpected connections. We cannot talk about population growth without also discussing decline; or immigration, without climate and business; or contraception, without faith and medical technology. It is the mother of cross-cutting issues -- at the intersection of economics, environment, gender roles, culture, politics, and religion. The population question is about the possibility and necessity of balancing the needs of nature and human civilization -- and whether we can hope to or should have any say over the process.

The issue is global. Overpopulation of one region will seek release in an under-populated region. Stronger economies will be a magnet for those from weaker economies. Local carbon emissions will increase temperatures and change global weather patterns, disrupting food supplies and sowing insecurity. Diseases that begin in crowded slums can travel the world. Aging populations could lead to long-term economic depression, decreasing our ability to address the great problems we face such as environmental degradation.

For a question so big, it's awfully difficult to talk about. After all, at the root of the population issue is sex, our most taboo subject. Through the Population Gateway, the Pulitzer Center aims to bring nuance to the conversation in a series of multimedia reports from across the globe. Join us as we explore this critically important, but under-told story.
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